Faithlife Sermons

Sermon47-3February08-Matt17(1-13)-PreparingForAdversity

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 2 views
Notes & Transcripts
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

OUTLINE
Preparing for Adversity                              http://www.preachingtoday.com/sermons/article_print.html?id=31593 
Text: Matthew 17:1-13 Topic: How to prepare for adversity Introduction: ·         Matthew 17:2-9 ·         We are certain to face adversity. ·         Big Idea: We all need to know how to prepare for adversity. 1.    Get alone with God. ·         Jesus went up on this high mountain, just himself and his three closest disciples, to spend time alone in the presence of God. ·         Illustration: It’s often the case in different situations to pray less and become more self-reliant when faced with adversity, demonstrating this is the opposite of what we need to do. ·         Matthew 17:2 ·         Meditate on his presence. ·         Hebrews 13:5 ·         Matthew 28:20 ·         Meditate on his power. ·         Psalms 89:13 ·         Meditate on his purpose in your life. ·         1 Peter 1:6-7 2.    Listen to God. ·         Matthew 17:4-7 ·         When you take the time to listen to God, you have a chance to filter out all the excuses and all the escape routes, and you have a chance to listen to that gentle voice of encouragement from God that says, "Get up. Don't be afraid. You can do this. I'll be with you." 3.    Wait on God. ·         Matthew 17:9 ·         On the other side of adversity is a resurrection with your name on it. Conclusion: ·         Adversity is around the corner in some way or another for each of us. ·         But if we're prepared, it's a battle we're sure to win. ·         In the Transfiguration of Christ we get a glimpse of Jesus Christ in his power and his glory—and that power is available to you.
         Preparing for Adversity
We all need to know how to prepare for adversity.                                         2373 words

In Matthew 17 there's a story about Jesus that also appears in the Gospels of Mark and Luke, so clearly it is an important story in the life of Jesus. It's called the transfiguration. Jesus had just told his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem, fully aware that he was likely to face death at the hands of the Roman occupiers who were clinical in dealing with any troublemakers who challenged the power structures. Regardless of his fate, however, Jesus was set on proclaiming that the one who ruled the world was God. The implication was huge – because if that were true, it meant neither Caesar nor his puppet king, Herod, ruled the world. Jesus also knew the adversity he was about to face would be difficult for his disciples. So, after telling them that he must go to Jerusalem to die, he led Peter, James and John up with him on a high mountain. When I read this story, I ask myself, "For whose benefit did the transfiguration occur? Was it for Jesus? Was it for Peter, James, and John? Was it for us?" The answer is all of the above. Jesus needed the transfiguration experience as he prepared for the difficult road he was facing. Peter James and John needed it too—they needed to get a glimpse of who Jesus really is. And today we need the truths this story teaches to help us live as faithful disciples, even as we face adversity.  If there's anything we've learned about the future, it is that we are certain to face adversity. We know this is true on a national level—our leaders have told us in plain language that future terrorist attacks are not a question of "if", they're a question of "when." This is also true on a personal level. You will face adversity at some time in the future. No matter how good things are right now in your business or your career, there will be times ahead when you have to face difficult challenges. No matter how good your marriage might be at this moment, there will times in the future when you face some "off-road" moments—there will be rough patches to endure. And no matter how great things are going for you spiritually right now—no matter how close to God you feel—there will be times in the future when his presence isn't quite so intuitive, when you struggle with sin, and struggle with the will to obey. There will be times ahead when doing the right thing hurts. It's a fact of life: we will all face times of adversity. Some of you can see it right now on the horizon. For others, the threat may not seem as clear. Either way, we all need to know how to prepare for it and get God's perspective on the situation and get his instructions for our lives. Today, from where you sit, maybe you can see the storm in the distance, or maybe the driving wind is already beginning to toss you around. It's time to prepare for the rough patch. It's time to prepare for the tough decision. The story of the transfiguration of Jesus shows us how. These are very simple principles to follow, but more powerful than you can imagine. Here's what you need to do. First of all... 1. Get alone with God. Jesus went up on this high mountain, just himself and his three closest disciples, to spend time alone in the presence of God. Luke's Gospel says that he went up on the mountain "to pray." I don't know how you are about this, but I'll tell you one of my shortcomings. When I'm facing adversity, my inclination is to pray less, not more. Maybe subconsciously I'm thinking that God must be mad at me or he wouldn't put me through this trial, or maybe I think that I'm getting what I deserve, or maybe in my arrogance I think I can handle it on my own—regardless, my first inclination at the sight of a storm is to pray less, not more. Needless to say, that inclination is wrong. I've learned to remind myself, when adversity rears its ugly head, that my first reaction must be to get alone with God and talk to him about it. I've learned to say, "God, this is a tough decision that I don't want to have to make; give me the strength to do the right thing. God, I'm struggling with the will to obey; give me the strength to do the right thing. God, I'm tempted to take the easy way out; give me the strength to do the right thing." The first defense in facing adversity is to get away from the grind of daily life and get alone with God. Maybe you need to get away for a week, or a weekend, or an afternoon—but you need to get away. How long? Until you see what the disciples saw: a glimpse of the glory of God. The Bible says that they went up on the mountain and...  (v. 2) There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. The disciples got a glimpse of who Jesus really is. They saw that he was more than just a teacher, more than just a healer. The disciples got a glimpse of the glory of Jesus. In the coming days they would need to cling to that glimpse—as they saw him get arrested, as they watched him being viscously beaten in a public forum, then stripped and mocked and nailed to a cross. They would need to cling to that glimpse—as they struggled with their own fears and their own failures. I also believe the transfiguration was done for Jesus' sake, too. There was a sense in which HE needed the transfiguration experience to strengthen him as he prepared to face the lonely road to the cross. He needed to get alone in God's presence and get a glimpse of the glory of God. As you prepare to face adversity, take time out of your schedule to get alone with God and get a glimpse of his glory. What do I mean by that—get a glimpse of his glory? Three things: • Meditate on his presence . Remember that he is with you, no matter what storms may come your way. Remember that he said, Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. (Hebrew 13:5) And he also said, Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:20) As you get alone with God, remember that he has promised that you never have to face anything on your own. He is there with you. Meditate on his presence in your life. • Meditate on his power . The Bible says, Your arm is endued with power; your hand is strong, your right hand exalted. (Psalm 89:13) When you're feeling weak and helpless, remember that God is not weak and helpless. He is all-powerful, and has the wherewithal to do what needs to be done. Meditate on his power at work in your life. • Meditate on his purpose in your life . The adversity you face is not meaningless. Jesus didn't face the cross simply because events somewhat spun out of control. There was a reason for his suffering. And there's a reason for yours, too. God is doing a work in your life, and the storms you face are a necessary chapter. Peter said,   ...though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold...may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:6-7) At the onset of a storm in your life, get alone with God and get a glimpse of his glory; meditate on his presence, his power, and his purpose at work in your life. Get alone with God. The second thing in preparing for adversity... 2. Listen to God. After you open your heart to him, and pour it out before him, and tell him all of your worries, you need to get to the point where you stop talking and start listening, so that you can get his perspective on your situation. When Peter got a glimpse of the glory of God, do you know what he said? (v. 4) Lord it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah. I like Luke's comment on this. He says this about Peter: He did not know what he was saying. (Luke 9:33) Peter, as was his custom, got a little bit ahead of God. He probably thought, "Worshipping Jesus on this mountain is a lot more enjoyable than going to Jerusalem to watch him die; let's stay here forever." He had a point. Have you ever been on a retreat? You never want it to end; you wish it could last forever. The phone's not ringing, there are no interruptions, people aren't bickering with one another—it's a close as we get to heaven on earth. But it can't last, because we're not called to pursue a state of perpetual "retreatedness" (if that's a word). We're called to live in the day-in, day-out grind of the real world. Peter's idea may have sounded good to him, but he didn't have God's perspective on the situation. So, God got his attention. (v. 5) While he (Peter) was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" The Bible then says, (v. 6) When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. Why were they terrified? A couple of reasons. Hearing the voice of God audibly must have been overwhelming for them. Also, I believe the words that God spoke to them on that mountain helped them to finally realize that what Jesus had been saying was true—he would soon go to Jerusalem and meet his death. As the realization of this sunk in, they were overcome with fear.  Now, right after God told Peter, James, and John to listen to Jesus, what was the very next thing Jesus said to them? Two things.... (v. 7) But Jesus came and touched them. "Get up," he said. "Don't be afraid." Did you get that? Get up. Don't be afraid. When we face adversity, we have a tendency to cower, to try to hide, to be overcome with fear. Jesus tells his disciples—and he tells us today—"Get up. Don't be afraid. Have courage. What you're about to face may be tough, but you're not all alone." Jesus is with you. Many times before we face the storm we cry out, "God, get me out of this." His response is often, "I won't get you out of it, but I'll get you through it. Get up. Don't be afraid." When you take the time to listen to God, you have a chance to filter out all the excuses you might want to make and all the escape routes you might want to take, and you have a chance to listen to that still, small voice—that gentle voice of encouragement from God—that says, "Get up. Don't be afraid. You can do this. I'll be with you." Get alone with God. Open up your heart to him, and then open your ears and listen to him. One thing that I know he will say to you is: Don't be afraid. Get alone with God, listen to God, and thirdly... 3. Wait on God. (v. 9) As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, "Don't tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead." We've heard Jesus say this before, but this is the last time in the Gospels that Jesus uses the "silence motif" (as it's called). This time Jesus suggests that the command to keep silent isn't permanent; they can talk about it after the resurrection. What I want you to notice is that Jesus reminds them that there will be a resurrection. He's saying, "Yes, it's true—I will face adversity. Yes, it's true—I must go to Jerusalem and be killed. And yes, it's true—that's not the end of the story. There will be a resurrection. I will be raised from the dead. Wait until then." As you face adversity, the same is true for you. The story doesn't end with the storm. The story doesn't end with defeat. It ends with victory. You may have to face some trials and tribulations, but on the other side of adversity is a resurrection with your name on it. In preparing for adversity we must ready ourselves to wait it out until victory comes. Wait on God; wait for the resurrection.   CONCLUSION I'm not being a doomsday prophet when I say that adversity is around the corner in some way or another for each of us. It's a fact of life: The rain falls on the just and the unjust. But if we're prepared, it's a battle we're sure to win. How do we prepare? Get alone with God—until you get a glimpse of his glory, until you're confident of his presence, his power, and his purpose in your life. Get alone with God and listen to God—until you get his perspective on what is happening to you, until you hear his encouraging words: Get up, don't be afraid. Get alone with God, listen to God, and wait on God—wait out the storm; there will be a new day; there will be a resurrection. In the Transfiguration of Christ we get a glimpse of Jesus Christ in his power and his glory—and that power is available to you, no matter what kind of adversity you face.Let’s pray: H/F adversity is not something we would choose but is something that is inevitable in the course of life. Help us to learn to turn to you at all times, in all circumstances, to seek your power, your presence and your purpose in our life. Help us to practice coming in to your presence, finding a quiet place to get alone with you, to listen to you and to wait on you, always trusting in the risen power of our Lord Jesus Christ. This we ask in his name. Amen

Related Media
Related Sermons